Iraqi PM says Islamic State plans subway attacks in U.S. and Paris

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(Reuters) – Iraq has “credible” intelligence that Islamic State militants plan to attack subway systems in Paris and the United States, the prime minister said on Thursday, but U.S. and French officials said they had no evidence to back up his claims.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s comments were met with surprise by security, intelligence and transit officials in both countries. New York’s leaders scrambled to ride the subway to reassure the public that the nation’s largest city was safe.

Abadi said he received the information Thursday morning from militants captured in Iraq and concluded it was credible after requesting further details. The attacks, he said, were plotted from inside Iraq by “networks” of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

“They plan to have attacks in the metros of Paris and the U.S.,” Abadi told a small group of U.S. reporters while in New York for the annual meeting of the U.N. General Assembly. “I asked for more credible information. I asked for names. I asked for details, for cities, you know, dates. And from the details I have received, yes, it looks credible.”

Some Iraqi officials in Baghdad questioned Abadi’s comments. One high-level Iraqi government official told Reuters it appeared to be based on “ancient intelligence”. Another called it “an old story.” Both spoke on condition of anonymity.

Abadi did not provide further details. A senior Iraqi official traveling with him later said Iraqi intelligence had uncovered “serious threats” and had shared this information with its allies’ intelligence agencies.

“A full assessment of the veracity of the intelligence and how far the plans have gone into implementation is ongoing,” the official said.

Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser to U.S. President Barack Obama, said the United States had “not confirmed any specific threat.”

“What we’ve consistently said to the Iraqis is if they have information..

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